Nothing scares people more than their biggest fears and phobias. Why? Because it only exists within the mind, and most of us would rather avoid conquering that beast than try taming it. We make fear real by focusing so much on those fears that manifest before us.

If you have been searching for ways to overcome your biggest fears, but have fallen short on ideas, don’t worry. We have discovered some of the most effective ways to combat fear and put it to rest.

Here are 7 ways to overcome your biggest fears:

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

1. Challenge your fears anyway.

In talking about ways to overcome your biggest fears, perhaps the most prominent and straightforward method of tackling them is by marching straight into them. Why should you allow your thoughts to dictate what you will and will not do in life? Don’t become a slave to your thoughts; master them instead. Challenge the negative ones and say “Hey, you don’t get to boss me around. I understand you feel afraid, but it’s okay. You’re safe.” Your ego loves to run the show, but to overcome your biggest fears, you can’t allow it take center stage.

You can’t grow in life unless you learn to power through your fears despite how very real they might seem.

2. Focus on other things besides what you’re afraid of.

How many times do we fixate on our thoughts until we feel paralyzed by them? Probably far too often. If you have too much time on your hands, your mind will need something to keep it busy. And unfortunately, the mind just loves to worry, and plan, and analyze. It loves to solve problems, and sometimes it gets carried away and tries to solve problems that don’t even exist yet. You see, fear doesn’t yet exist, until we make it real by obsessing over the thought of the fear itself. When thinking of ways to overcome your biggest fears, try to remember that what you give the most energy to will inevitably manifest.

So, by focusing on compassion, love, and positive things about your life, you will start to see more of that showing up.

3. Practice meditation.

Perhaps one of the best ways to overcome your biggest fears is through the peaceful practice of meditation. Meditation allows you to slowly sink into a deep space of relaxation, surrendering to the present moment and dispelling fear. Many studies have shown how meditation can reduce anxiety and everyday stress by detaching us from our thoughts temporarily, and stripping away all of the identities we have gained through our thoughts and feelings. In other words, meditation allows everything that isn’t us to melt away, leaving behind our true selves.

If you have desperately been seeking ways to overcome fear, search nowhere else but within for the answers.

4. Try to think about the positives of facing down your fears.

Instead of thinking of fear in a negative light, try to see the bright side of it. Fear gives us a challenge, a character-building opportunity. Also, focus on how you will feel after facing your fears. The feeling of liberation, exhilaration, and strength you will feel afterward should make standing up to your fears worth it in the end. Start training the mind to focus on how you want to feel rather than how you do feel in the moment, and your fears will start to transform into excitement.

5. Forgive yourself.

If you suffer from anxiety, chronic stress, or just occasional bouts of excessive worrying, stop beating yourself up. This will only perpetuate the cycle you have put yourself in of feeling fear, getting mad at yourself for feeling that way, and therefore attracting more of what you don’t want. The path to freedom lies in forgiveness and understanding, so when you think of ways to overcome your biggest fears, remember to treat yourself kindly.

Fear will only keep showing up until you can apologize to yourself, and simply allow your feelings to move through you rather than constantly fighting them.

6. Express gratitude.

Most people feel fear because they have moved their attention away from what they already have to begin with. Fear stems from a discomfort of the unknown, but gratitude begins with focusing on what you’ve been blessed with already. Ways to overcome your biggest fears include expressing gratitude for what you have and what you have yet to experience. Feel grateful for your fear, and then you can start cracking through the resistance you’ve built against new experiences, people, and places.

7. Start with the basics: diet, sleep, and exercise.

Fear and anxiety are pretty much synonymous. At the heart of anxiety, lies a fear of something seemingly out of one’s control. However, have you been paying attention to what you can control? You get to decide what to put in your body, what type of exercise you do, and how much sleep you will get. All of these factors can greatly affect your mental health. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can actually cause anxiety disorders, and many studies have linked poor gut bacteria caused by diet to higher stress and anxiety levels. Lack of exercise also contributes to built up tension in the mind and body, therefore leading to anxiety.

If you want to get to the heart of ways to overcome your biggest fears, start with the essentials of feeling healthy and balanced.